Flash Airlines Flight 604

Egyptian private charter flight

Flash Airlines Flight 604, a Boeing 737-300, was a flight from Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to Paris, France, via Cairo. On January 3, 2004 the plane crashed into the Red Sea just moments after take-off at Sharm El Sheikh International Airport. All 135 passengers and 13 crew members on-board the plane died. The cause of the crash remains disputed, but it was suggested to be spatial disorientation by the Captain.

Flash Airlines Flight 604
SU-ZCF, the aircraft involved in the accident, seen in March 2002
Date3 January 2004
SummaryLoss of control and crash into sea after takeoff; cause disputed
SiteRed Sea near Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
27°50′N 34°23′E / 27.833°N 34.383°E / 27.833; 34.383
Aircraft typeBoeing 737-3Q8
Aircraft nameNour
OperatorFlash Airlines
IATA flight No.7K604
ICAO flight No.FSH604
Call signFLASH 604
Flight originSharm El Sheikh International Airport, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
StopoverCairo International Airport, Cairo, Egypt
DestinationCharles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, France
Fatalities148 (all)

The crash remains Egypt's deadliest air-disaster, until the bombing of Kogalymavia Flight 9268, with 224 deaths. The crash is also the worst crash of a Boeing 737-300.

The flight took off at 04:44 Eastern European Time (0244 GMT) from runway 22R at the Egyptian resort en route to Paris via Cairo. After taking off, the aircraft should have climbed and initiated a left turn to follow the air corridor to Cairo designated by the Sharm el-Sheikh VOR station. The captain appeared surprised when the autopilot was engaged, which he immediately switched off again. The copilot warned the captain that the bank angle was increasing. At a bank angle of 40 degrees to the right, the captain said "OK come out".

The ailerons were briefly returned to neutral before being commanded to increase the bank to the right, likely by the captain in a state of surprise. The aircraft reached an altitude of 5,460 feet (1,660 m) with a 50-degree bank when the copilot exclaimed "Overbank" repeatedly when the bank angle kept increasing. The bank angle was 111 degrees right, while the pitch attitude was 43 degrees nose down at an altitude of 3,470 feet (1,060 m).

The observer on the flight deck, also a pilot, but a trainee on this 737 variant, shouted "Retard power, retard power, retard power", to get the captain to pull the throttles back so that the aircraft stopped gaining speed. Both throttles were moved to idle; the captain appeared to regain control of the airplane. However the speed increased, activating the overspeed warning.

At 04:45, the aircraft impacted the water about 8.2 nautical miles (15.2 km) south of the airport. The impact occurred while the aircraft was in a 24 degree right bank, 24 degree nose-down attitude, travelling at 416 knots (770 km/h, 478 mph,) and pulling 3.9g (38 m/2²). All 148 passengers and crew were lost.

Most of the passengers aboard the flight were French tourists from the Paris metropolitan area. A provisional passenger list, dated January 5 January 2004, stated that twelve entire French families had boarded the flight.[1]

Passenger and crew countries of origin
Country Passengers Crew Total
 Canada 0 1 1
 Egypt 0 12 12
 Japan 1 0 1
 France 132 0 132
 United States 1 0 1
 Morocco 1 0 1
Total 135 13 148

References change

  1. Lichfield, John (5 January 2004). "Twelve entire families named among Red Sea crash victims as Swiss reveal airline safety fears". The Independent. Retrieved 14 January 2009.[dead link]